Forget Apple's Spatial Audio playlists – listen to this one instead

Airpods Max Comfort
Airpods Max Comfort (Image credit: Apple)

When Apple launched Apple Music with Spatial Audio earlier this month it also released a number of new playlists that included songs that had been mixed with Dolby Atmos. But you shouldn't use them for your Spatial Audio initiation – use this playlist instead.

See, Apple seems to have listed every track that's been marked as supporting Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos. The songs are broken down into genres, with each genre getting its own playlist. Rock, Country, Pop, it's all there. But some of it sounds bad. Like, really bad.

Bad enough to put you off Spatial Audio, bad.

The prevailing theory seems to be that some tracks just aren't suited to Spatial Audio for one reason or another. One of those reasons is the lack of a center channel when creating the mixes, causing some vocals to sound like they suffer from echo, or phasing as Jonathan Morrison puts it. But whatever the reason, you need a good collection of vetted songs if you're going to get the best out of Spatial Audio, at least for now.

Over to Jonathan Morrison again.

See more

There's a little but of everything on this playlist and there are sure to be songs that you haven't come across before, too. But anyone looking for a Spatial Audio tour de force could do much worse than listen to any song on this list.

Can I also offer my own humble opinion here? The remixed Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park sounds like a whole new album with Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos – especially when you're listening with AirPods Max.

Don't yet have a pair of AirPods Max to really put Spatial Audio through its paces? Check out our collection of the best AirPods Max deals we've come across of late.

Apple Music with Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos can sound amazing but it can also sound extremely lackluster. Make sure you're listening to the right songs if you want to hear it at its best. You don't even need AirPods Max – any headphones will do. Just remember the better the headphones, the better the sound will be.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.